The District of Columbia's Republican Party may one day be the organization to which people point when they recall the beginnings of a monumental shift by the GOP.
Last week the D.C. GOP became the first Republican state party to include language in its platform that supports marriage equality for same sex couples.
Under the heading “Family and Marriage” the D.C. GOP put forth: "We, the Republicans of the District of Columbia support the belief that all individuals, without regard to sexual orientation, are entitled to full and equal protection under the laws and the Constitution and that everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect."
Earlier this year D.C. Republicans were first in the nation to elect openly gay party members to the posts of national committeeman and committeewoman.
While running for committeewoman, Jill Homan wrote: “To remain a competitive political party well into the future, we must develop a successful model of a local urban Republican Party that can be exported nationwide. And there’s no better place to start than here in Washington, D.C.”
Homan won and now the local party appears to be heeding her words.
Do not, however, expect the national GOP to be on board anytime soon. The far more influential Texas Republican Party inserted this gem into its 2012 platform: “homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit.”
But every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
And the D.C. GOP is first to take the step among its fellow state party organizations.
For that, they can be proud.
The next step is for District party officials and delegates to bring their message of inclusion to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
It is one thing to write equality into a platform. It is another to promote it in an environment where the message is met with skepticism and possibly hostility.
Advocates for equality should set aside whatever partisan feelings they have for the GOP and vow to support District Republicans who champion gay rights in Tampa this summer and beyond.
The D.C. GOP is boldly blazing a trail. They will probably need all the support they can get.
Chuck Thies is a political analyst and consultant. His columns appear every Tuesday and Thursday on First Read DMV. He co-hosts "DC Politics" on WPFW, 89.3 FM. Since 1991, Chuck has lived in either D.C., Maryland or Virginia. Email your tips and complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at @chuckthies.